We packed up our campsite (it's getting so much easier!) and were off around 8 this morning. We HAD to stop at the Olympic Bagel place one more time before we left, since they were so good the first time. After breakfast, we headed out to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic. I'm telling you, this park is absolutely amazing! After spending a few days in Yellowstone, I didn't think national parks could get any cooler, but they can! I think Olympic NP has been my favorite stop so far. It is spectacular. Yesterday we were in the rain forest, the day before in the old-growth forests and beaches, and today, in the sub-alpine meadows and snow! How cool is that? Hurricane Ridge is about 15 miles from Port Angeles. The road to the visitor's center takes you past some breathtaking views. The first 5 miles or so today were clear and kind of just tree-covered. The next 7 miles were covered in a deep fog. It was kind of scary only being able to see about a car's length in front, but luckily there weren't too many other cars on the road yet (or that I could see!). We stopped on the way up at a few pull-offs to try to look out, but the fog was so thick that you could only really see just the tops of the trees below you. The rest of the way up the road was clearer. You can see where the winter snows are still melting and the awesome waterfalls that it has created. It's pretty cool that you can stand in snow up to your shins in the middle of July, wearing shorts! Once we got up to the top, we stopped at the visitor's center. They have all your normal touristy things there (better than the one at Hoh yesterday, though) and a bunch of Native American art. I love looking at their art and seeing the intricate beadwork and basket weaving that they do. (Definitely not "Basket Weaving 101 for Jocks!) From the top, you can see out to Mount Olympus. It is the 3rd largest glacial area in the continental US. We were going to hike the trails around the center but they were covered in some pretty deep snow. So we decided to forgo the trails and just walk were there wasn't any snow. It's too bad that it was a foggy morning, though. The top wasn't as bad as the middle, but it was still pretty heavy. On clear days, you can see out to Canada!
The animals at the top must know that they rule the area and that people aren't allowed to bother them (even though there were some very amusing signs posted telling you not to feed them). There were at least 10 deer hanging out in the meadows. Some of them were grazing and some of them were laying down. We saw 2 fawns under a tree and one of the deer came about 4 feet from us. Didn't flinch or run or anything, which was pretty cool. They would never get that close at home.
After a few hours at the top, we decided that we should get going to head out to the Seattle/Olympia area. We had to follow 101 back to the other side of the peninsula. At one point, we were stopped for road work. We had a great time making fun of/feeling bad for the guy with the slow/stop sign. He had some great stretching moves and facial expressions! We were going to offer him a snack, but he was kind of far away and he had his lunch box next to him. I think he was all set. The rest of the trip to Olympia wasn't bad, but man, driving on I-5 was a little nerve-wracking. They drive kind of crazy out here. Will definitely have to get used to that! We are staying about half way between Seattle and Olympia in a city called Federal Way. (It is definitely a city in Washington standards- 89,000. Forks is a "city" with 3,000 and Port Angeles with 19,000. So I guess we can call this one a city too.) Apparently Apolo Ohno is from here. Who knew??
We expect to explore Seattle tomorrow. Maybe catch some flying fish at Pike's Place? Or at least some good coffee.
(And we saw our final license plate today. Wouldn't have thought that it would take all this time to see a Delaware one!)
Life is a Highway (Washington Pictures)
States Visited: Connecticut, Idaho,Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming (13/50)
Provinces Visited: Ontario (1/10)
License Plates Seen: All 50 States!
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan (8/10)